Sunday, 19 September 2021
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  • Textile Details

    'Libertad a los presos politicos / Freedom for the political prisoners', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
    'Libertad a los presos politicos / Freedom for the political prisoners', Anonymous. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)


    Title of Textile:Libertad a los presos políticos / Freedom for the political prisoners
    Maker: Anonymous
    Country of Origin: Chile
    Year Produced: 1985c
    Size (cm): 46cm x 37cm
    Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
    Type of Textile: Arpillera

    The women who made this kind of arpillera have resorted to their textile skills as a means by which to live with conflict and its memory on a daily basis. As Marjorie Agosín(2008) quotes: "For the arpilleristas the political events of their country and their daily lives became inseparable" ("Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love" , Rowman & Littlefield).

    The struggle for better conditions for political prisoners became extremely relevant. This arpillera shows a group of women protesting in front of a prison and demanding the release of the prisoners within.

    Actions depicted in arpilleras like this one brought international pressure on the Junta,and internal disagreements within it, made General Pinochet sign the convention against torture in 1988. In turn, this allowed Spain to indict General Pinochet on charges alleging human rights violations during his regime from 1973 to 1990.

    The powerful effect of this type of political expression was not recognised at first by the military. Ariel Zeitlin Cooke explains: "Ironically, war textiles are largely disregarded by modern military authorities because of their feminine connotations and can therefore be a relatively safe forum for dangerous or provocative ideas" (Weavings of War).

    When the Chilean military finally recognised the power of the arpilleras, they condemned these works as subversive materials and if found they would have been stopped at Customs and destroyed before leaving the country.

    Owner: Conflict Textiles collection. Provenance Kinderhilfe arpillera collection, Chile/Bonn
    Location: Roberta Bacic, Northern Ireland
    Original / Replica: Original
    Photographer: Martin Melaugh

    Textile exhibited at: 'Arpilleras Aus Chile' -Eine Retrospektive, 6/05/2010 - 28/05/2010
    Stitching Resistance, 12/10/2010 - 16/01/2011
    Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
    Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
    Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
    RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
    Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles exhibition II, 6/12/2013 - 22/02/2014
    SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
    Sew to Speak – Human Rights, 12/09/2014 - 14/09/2014
    Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 17/11/2014 - 18/11/2014
    Textile Accounts of Conflicts, 6/02/2015 - 7/03/2015
    COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 26/03/2015 - 30/09/2015
    COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria, 8/10/2015 - 4/04/2016
    COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria STITCHING PEACE: Conflict, Arpilleras, M, 13/04/2016 - 12/06/2016
    Arpilleras, yesterday and today, 14/09/2017 - 15/09/2017
    Arpilleras Speak Truth, 25/09/2017 - 28/10/2017
    Arpilerak: Memoriaren Haritik Etorkizuna Josten / Arpilleras: Al Hilo De La Memoria, 12/04/2018 - 24/04/2018
    ARIPILLERAS: AL HILO DE LA MEMORIA, TEJIENDO FUTURO / Arpilleras: Knitting the Future, 25/04/2018 - 30/05/2018
    Justicia Transicional y Arte-Textil / Transitional Justice and Art-Textile, 24/09/2018 - 18/10/2018
    Conflict Textiles talk , 3/02/2019 - 3/02/2019
    Embracing Human Rights, 5/11/2019 - 18/12/2019
    Embracing Human Rights: Conflict Textiles’ Journey, 9/01/2020 - 31/07/2020
    The Art of the Banner, 9/02/2021 - 23/02/2021
    Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century, 24/03/2021 - 31/12/2021

    Textile Detail Image(s)